L-R: Hillel Akotonas, Chen Spindel, Auren Renford, Min. Yariv Levin, Miki Howard, Adi Sapan, Maria Belanov, Paz Fogel, Prof. Yaniv Poria v photo: Dudu Greenspan
Four students from the Department of Hotel and Tourism Management at the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management GGFBM, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, hosted the Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin on behalf of the HaBaitBe Chain of Boutique Hotels in Beer Sheva on Monday, 17/09/18. The purpose of the visit was to launch the new Ottoman House Hotel of the chain in the Old City of Beer Sheva.
These four students all play important roles on the staff of the HaBaitBe Hotel Chain: Adi Sapan is manager of the HaBaitBe Matityahu Hotel, Chen Spindel, Paz Fogel and Maria Belanov are in charge of marketing and other management roles of the Chain. HaBaitBe VP Auren Renford is a BA and MA graduate of the GGFBM Department of Hotel and Tourism Management.
The HaBaitBe Hotel Chain, owned by local entrepreneur Michael (Miki) Howard, is an innovative, inceptive venture in Beer Sheva, the first to create boutique hotel rooms in houses and apartments in various old neighborhoods in the city. The location of the boutique hotels in these neighborhoods is of itself a bold, groundbreaking move that generates neighborhood regentrification and sustainability as well as sustainable urban tourism in Beer Sheva – also a new concept to the City. "The students from the Department of Hotel and Tourism Management hold strong management acumen with firm values in social responsibility, and the entire chain is managed solely by students or graduates of the Department," says Auren Renford, the Chain's VP. “We carefully select the hotel staff, and without a doubt grads and students from the GGFBM Department of Hotel and Tourism Management are the best of the best."
Other participants in the celebration were Prof. Yaniv Poria, Chair of the Department of Hotel and Tourism Management and Academic Director of the BGU Eilat Campus, Prof. Natan Uriely and MA student Hillel Akotonas in the Department.
During the meeting, Prof. Poria and Min. Levin discussed the need for high-quality human capital with managerial, socially-responsible capabilities to steer the tourism industry. Prof. Poria briefed the Minister on the changes made in the Department's curriculum at the Beer Sheva campus and at the Eilat campus. The Minister learned about the high demand for the Department graduates, as well as the opening of a new course for executives over the age of 30 at the Eilat campus. On this occasion, Prof. Poria thanked the Minister for the generous scholarships offered by the Ministry of Tourism to students and raised the importance of supporting students to become leaders in the industry.
Hillel Akotonas explained why he decided to study for an MA in the GGFBM Department of Hotel and Tourism Management, after 26 successful years in the industry. "The Department's reputation is well known. I thought I'd enrich my knowledge. Then, unexpectedly, it was the theoretic studies in the curriculum that completely changed my managerial thinking and gave me innovative strategies that I would not have reached without studying here at the GGFBM. I found out how much I didn't know about my own profession with regard to management, especially about strategic management, marketing, entrepreneurship, competitiveness and funding." Hillel is the Director of Tourism in the private transportation company Hamovil Hadromi Zvika, and he is also a certified tour guide.
The Department of Hotel and Tourism Management is a core part of the Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management GGFBM since its establishment at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. The vanguard of hotel and tourism research and studies in Israel, the Department is the only one offering BA, MA and PhD degrees in this field. The unique curriculum imparts relevant acumen for the leaders in the industries of hotel, tourism, aviation, beverage and catering and more. The studies sharpen analytical-business thinking, providing students with experience that prepare them for management, innovation and entrepreneurship in the industries, underscored with leadership, sustainability and social responsibility. The Department has an international reputation for quality research achievements and is ranked among the top 50 in the world by the Shanghai ARWU Global Ranking.
Photos: Dudu Greenspan